By Barbara Tetreault
BERLIN – WingZilla attracted a record crowd with an estimated 2,500 people checking out the 14 different varieties of wings, participating in the Luau ATV porker run, and watching past champions battle for supremacy in both the Chicken Wing Cook-off contest and the KillaZilla hot wing eating competition.
“It was the best ever,” said Paula Kinney, executive director of the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Kinney said 2,000 pounds of chicken wings were cooked Saturday at WingZilla held at the Service Credit Union Heritage Park. The event is sponsored by N.H. Distributors and Capone Iron.
Lam’s Catering and chef Richard Lam took both first and second place in the cook-off with two different entries. Third place went to Wingman Wings with Robbie Munce and Mike Cole doing the cooking. The People’s Choice Award went to Team Fire Ant while the Kids’ Choice went to Missy Wedge and Team Boneyard Wings. It was a battle of champions for the first spot with Wingman Wings the 2016 winner, Boneyard Wings the 2015 winner, and Lam the winner in 2014. Judging was done by Kenny Chaput and his Mud Pit crew from the Jericho ATV Festival.
In the KillaZilla eating contest, two former champions battled with Tina Mann edging out last year’s winner, Corey Poirier. Mann took the title for the third time, having won the contest in 2013 and 2014. Master hot wing chef Bill Maddelena whipped up a batch of wings so hot the contestants were required to sign liability waivers.
Kinney said the Luau ATV Poker Run, hosted by the Professional Firefighters Local 1088, drew a record number with most entries decked out in Hawaiian style to match the theme. Proceeds from the poker run go to Operation Warm, which purchases warm winter coats for area kids.
Kinney said there were also good crowds for the cornhole and horseshoe competitions. One popular new event for kids this year was a Power Wheels obstacle course.
The beer tent and food vendors were busy and the weather proved perfect for the outdoor event. The Kilcollins band performed from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with saxophonist Adric Rosen stopping by and joining the band on stage. Kinney said the band was popular with the crowd.
Next up for the hard working chamber is Camp RZR on Sept. 22 and 23 followed by Riverfire on Oct. 14.